Sunday, December 30, 2012

Pearson Invests $89.5 Million in NOOK Media

This from Marketplace K-12:
International education publishing giant Pearson entered the e-publishing market with a splash Friday, as the company announced in a joint press release that it will invest $89 million in NOOK Media, Barnes & Noble's e-reader subsidiary. The transaction will effectively give Pearson control of five percent of NOOK Media, with the option of purchasing an additional five percent at a later date.

Though the announcement caused a noticeable uptick in stock for both companies, analysts speculate the transaction could be influenced by a disappointing holiday season for Barnes & Noble, with the company recently announcing that NOOK sales would not meet projected revenue goals.

The transaction represents yet another step in Pearson's major push to expand its digital content offerings. The company generated one-third of its sales from digital products and services in 2011, and as my colleague Jason Tomassini reported, Pearson has been aggressive in its quest for marketplace dominance. In recent years, Pearson purchased the Baltimore-based virtual education provider Connections Academy and a New York City-based company, Schoolnet, that creates personalized education software.

"With this investment we have entered into a commercial agreement with NOOK Media that will allow our two companies to work closely together in order to create a more seamless and effective experience for students. It is another example of our strategy of making our content and services broadly available to students and faculty through a wide range of distribution partners," Will Ethridge, chief executive officer of Pearson's North America division, said in a press release.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Arizona plan would arm principal or teacher

This from CNN:
Arizona's attorney general proposed arming one principal or employee at each school to defend against attacks such as the recent Connecticut school massacre.

"The ideal solution would be to have an armed police officer in each school," Attorney General Tom Horne said in a news release Wednesday. But budget cuts have limited the number of Arizona schools with "school resource officers" on campus, he said.

The "next best solution," Horne said, "is to have one person in the school trained to handle firearms, to handle emergency situations, and possessing a firearm in a secure location."

A shooter, armed with a semiautomatic rifle and two other guns, on December 14 killed 26 people -- including six faculty members and 20 young students -- at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown.

Horne compared the plan to the FAA's program adopted after the September 11, 2001, attacks to arm airline pilots.

A school would be invited to send the principal "or another designee" to "training in the use of firearms and how to handle emergencies such as that which occurred in Newtown," Horne's release said. Horne's office would oversee the free training with help from sheriffs, he said.

"The designated individual (no more than one per school) would then be authorized to keep a firearm locked in a secure place, and would have adequate communication to be alerted to an emergency in any part of the school," the release said.

Several Arizona sheriffs have joined in to support the proposal, Horne said.

Legislation to allow it will be introduced by the Republican leader in the state House, he said.

"This proposal presents a golden mean between two extremes," Horne said. "One extreme is to allow all teachers to bring guns to school, which could create more dangers than it prevents. The other extreme is to do nothing, which everyone will regret if a preventable incident like Newtown would occur in the future."

Friday, December 21, 2012

Holliday: 'no armed guard could have prevented the Newtown incident'

This from the Herald-Leader:
Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday said that although he backs safety in schools, he questions the workability of the National Rifle Association's call for Congress to pay for armed police officers in every American school.

"I support safety in our schools; however, no armed guard could have prevented the Newtown incident," Holliday said, referring to last week's shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

"The culture of violence within our society makes movie theaters, churches, post offices, schools and college primate targets for mass shootings," Holliday said a statement responding to the plan unveiled Friday by NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre.

"The only way to deal with this issue is to address the many facets that create a culture of violence," Holliday said. "We must address gun control, mental health, violence in media including movies and video games, and other related issues in order to combat the culture of violence."

Holliday said he supports continued funding for School Resource Officers, which serve in many Kentucky schools, and he hopes for increased funding that would allow more officers.

Meanwhile, Fayette County Schools Superintendent Tom Shelton said he would welcome federal funding to provide guards in schools, if Washington let districts craft security programs to meet their particular needs.

"I'd just ask that they don't build the model and say that everybody has to follow the same model," he said. "I would prefer that they provide the funding so people could look at what model fits their community best."

The Fayette school district has its own in-house police force, with 28 sworn officers who have full police powers on school property. The school district's officers are armed.

Many other Kentucky districts have "School Resource Officers," who typically are sworn officers of the local police department assigned to work in the schools. Their duties mainly involve breaking up fights or helping to calming tense situations, rather that directly acting as guards.

Shelton said the Fayette Schools' can't afford an officer to cover each of its 63 buildings, plus special programs that operate in auxiliary buildings.

"Our model works really well," he said. "So if they would provide additional funding so we could expand our model, that would be great."

Wilson Sears, executive director of the Kentucky Association of School Superintendents, said most superintendents probably would not oppose having a police officer in every school.

"Many schools already have them in the form of School Resource Officers," Sears said. "So, the idea of having a uniformed officer in a school is not uncommon."

Sears said he has more reservations about other ideas that have been floated since the Sandy Hook incident, such as arming principals or teachers.

"We don't have Firearms 101 in teacher or principal-prep programs," he said.

Sears said that if a principal was issued a gun, it probably would have to be kept in an office under lock and key. He noted, however, that principals usually most of their workday visiting classrooms or other distant parts of the school building, and might be far from the locked gun when trouble broke out.

Read more here:

Debate Stirred on Arming Teachers, School Staff

If teachers or others were carrying weapons on school grounds to protect...students,
a situation could get “dicey” very quickly, particularly for other law-enforcement officers 
responding to an incident. 
While those at the school might recognize a teacher defending students 
from an attacker, police officers might not.
          -- Kevin Quinn, spokesman for the National Association of School Resource Officers

This from Ed Week:
In the aftermath of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, several prominent voices, including former U.S. Secretary of Education William J. Bennett and U.S. Rep. Louis Gohmert, R-Texas, have argued that allowing teachers and principals to carry firearms could prevent such incidents.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a Republican, said Dec. 17 that permits to carry concealed weapons should be valid on school grounds. Firearms are currently prohibited on public and private school property and school vehicles in his state. Another Republican, Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell, told Washington’s WTOP radio Dec. 18 that it was time to have a “discussion” about having armed school staff members.

And lawmakers in Oklahoma say they plan to introduce legislation to let school staff members arm themselves, and possibly to make school workers reserve law-enforcement officers.

“We cannot continue to be shackled by politically correct, reflexive, anti-gun sentiment in the face of the obvious: Our schools are soft targets,” said Oklahoma state Rep. Mark McCullough, a Republican.

In the Dec. 14 shootings at the school in Newtown, Conn., 20 children and six staff members were killed by a gunman who shot his way into the building before killing himself.

But allowing school staff members to carry firearms to defend students and themselves could create safety and logistical problems for school authorities and law-enforcement officers, according to a national group representing police officers assigned to schools.

States already have a patchwork of laws that vary widely in terms of who can bring firearms onto school grounds, and when they can do so.

The day before the Connecticut shootings, the Michigan legislature passed a bill that would have allowed people to be exempt from gun bans at “no-carry zones,”Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader including schools and day-care centers. But Gov. Rick Snyder, a Republican, vetoed the measure Dec. 18. The governor had been asked by teachers’ unionsRequires Adobe Acrobat Reader and by gun-control advocates not to sign the bill in the wake of the Sandy Hook incident.

“Permitting firearms in schools—visible or concealed—enables a dangerous set of circumstances that can result in similar tragic outcomes,” American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten and AFT-Michigan President David Hecker wrote to Gov. Snyder on Dec. 16. “We should be doing everything we can to reduce the possibility of any gunfire in schools, and concentrate on ways to keep all guns off school property and ensure the safety of children and school employees.”

Varied Laws

Forty-two states and the District of Columbia prohibit even those holding concealed-weapons permits or licenses from bringing guns onto school grounds, according to a state-by-state survey by the San Francisco-based Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, which opposes guns in schools.

One exemption in many states—the Georgia law is particularly clear—is for those who are on school grounds and have licensed firearms in their vehicles. The exception is typically designed to accommodate those who are picking up or dropping off students at school.

New Hampshire, by contrast, has no law at all “prohibiting persons who are not pupils from possessing firearms in a school zone,” according to the San Francisco group, while Alabama’s prohibition on firearms at public schools does not extend to those who have a permit to carry a concealed firearm.

Law Enforcement, Safety Issues

For school resource officers—by definition, police officers with firearms who work in schools—as well as for all others carrying guns on school grounds, training is the key element to ensuring safety, said Kevin Quinn, a spokesman for the National Association of School Resource Officers, based in Hoover, Ala.

For example, he said, while he as the officer on the scene would have only his handgun to challenge anyone bringing an assault weapon on to school grounds, he could be more prepared to meet the imbalance in firepower than someone without a law-enforcement background.

“I have years and years of training in tactics in order to deal with that,” he said.

If teachers or others were carrying weapons on school grounds to protect themselves and students, Mr. Quinn said, a situation could get “dicey” very quickly, particularly for other law-enforcement officers responding to an incident. While those at the school might recognize a teacher defending students from an attacker, he said, police officers might not.

“We could be challenging the wrong person. We could be wasting time challenging a good guy with a gun, when in fact we could be looking for the suspect,” Mr. Quinn said.

Legal Complexities

States have adopted a variety of approaches to gun-policy issues, such as concealed-weapons permits, complicating the debate over arming school staff members. And the precise extent of the right to bear arms continues to spark court battles.

Last week, for example, gun-control advocates suffered a setback when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, in Chicago, struck down the ban on concealed weapons in Illinois—the only state, along with the District of Columbia, to have an outright ban—on the grounds that it violated the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

However, the 7th Circuit court in that Dec. 11 ruling also cited language related to schools in the 2008 U.S. Supreme Court decision in District of Columbia v. Heller in 2008, the landmark ruling that the Second Amendment provides an individual right to bear arms. The opinion by Justice Antonin Scalia said that states could still restrict guns in “sensitive places” like schools.
In the area of weapons permits, Connecticut is a “may issue” or “discretionary” state, in which the state may grant a person a permit to carry a concealed firearm, but is not required to do so, according to the Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures. However, in 38 other states, either applicants are not required to demonstrate a need for the permit, or authorities must grant such a permit if the applicant meets all the relevant criteria.

But seemingly clear gun policies can raise puzzling legal questions, even in connection with schools. A state analysis of the Connecticut law governing firearms on school grounds raised the possibility that the statute, in theory, could allow a school staff member to bring a gun to a school with the district’s permission, although that analysis also said that, in practice, districts would not allow it.

Carrying a gun on public school grounds in Connecticut is a felony, with a few exceptions for security guards, for those who have them for uses approved by the school (such as a firearms-safety class), and for a law-enforcement officer “in the performance of his official duties.” A hunter can carry an unloaded weapon across public school grounds as well, with the local board of education’s permission.

In 2006, Soncia Coleman, an associate legislative analyst for the state, noted that when the original law pertaining to guns at schools was passed in 1992, it allowed an exemption for those with locally or state-issued permits. That exemption was removed in 1998.

“While a teacher or staff member would be prohibited from bringing a gun to school without the district’s permission, the statute appears to allow him to do so pursuant to an agreement with said district,” Ms. Coleman wrote. “However, it is not clear from session transcripts that this result was contemplated by the legislature, and a cursory review of related board of education policies reveals that this practice would generally be prohibited by school districts.”

She went on to note that the Stamford, Conn., school board prohibited school employees from bringing “any weapon or dangerous instrument onto school property or to any school-sponsored activities.”

Meanwhile, the debate over how—and in what way—policies should be changed remains unsettled. On Dec. 17, for example, Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, a Democrat, said he wanted stricter federal gun-control laws, arguing that relatively strict gun laws in states like his can be undermined by policies in less restrictive states nearby.

Principals Face Raft of Tough Decisions in Shootings' Aftermath

This from Politics K-12:
Less than four hours after a 14-year-old boy had opened fire at Heath High School in Paducah, Ky., killing three classmates and wounding five others, the principal had to begin making difficult choices.
Should school resume the next day? And, if so, should students and staff members return so soon to the place where an unimaginable scene of horror had unfolded? Those were just the first of many weighty decisions for Bill Bond, who was Heath’s principal on Dec. 1, 1997, the day that Michael Carneal, a freshman at the high school in the western Kentucky town, showed up on campus heavily armed and began shooting at students who had gathered for a morning prayer group.

Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung, 47
School Principal
As the community of Newtown, Conn., continues to bury and mourn the 20 children, the principal, and five other staff members who were gunned down by an armed intruder at Sandy Hook Elementary School last week, other educators who’ve been through similarly horrific events said school leaders there face a series of wrenching decisions about how to pick up the pieces and move forward amid immeasurable loss and grief. As they make logistical decisions, they must delicately mind the trauma and emotions of their staff members, their students, parents, and themselves. Longer-term considerations about how to memorialize the victims also await.

Already, leaders in Newtown have decided to reopen school for Sandy Hook on Jan. 2, after the winter holidays, though students in the district’s six other schools returned Dec. 18. Sandy Hook students and staff members will not return for now to the campus in Newtown, which remains a massive crime scene. Their classes will resume in a borrowed middle school building in Monroe, a neighboring town. Donna Page, a retired former principal of Sandy Hook, has been selected to lead the school through the transition in place of Dawn Hochsprung, the beloved and energetic leader who was killed in the Dec. 14 massacre.

Recovery’s Path

The 5,500-student Newtown district has sought support and advice from officials in Jefferson County, Colo., where two student gunmen killed 12 of their classmates and one teacher at Columbine High School in April 1999 before killing themselves, said Connecticut’s state education commissioner Stefan Pryor. Though each community must make decisions based on its own needs, “recovery from these events follows a predictable path,” and there are lessons to be learned and resources to be drawn from others who have experienced similar tragedies, said Cathy Paine, a retired school psychologist who leads an emergency assistance team for the National Association of School Psychologists.

One of the first decisions is when to return to school and where. “Timing the return to school is very important, especially with so many victims who have to be memorialized,” said Cynthia Stevenson, the superintendent in Jefferson County, Colo. “You have to allow for the time for families to go to these memorials.” Students at Columbine did not return to school for two weeks following the shooting, and when they did, they attended classes at another high school in the district, said Ms. Stevenson, who was the deputy superintendent at the time.

In Paducah, “for us, the answer was yes, we had to come back the next day,” said Mr. Bond, who retired from the school in 2000 after the last of the students wounded in the shootings graduated. “When I asked the shooter, ‘why did you do this?’ he said to me, ‘I want to be in control.’ If we had shut down school the next day, he would have been.”

Mr. Bond, who now advises districts and schools on safety issues as a specialist for the National Association for Secondary School Principals, said that decision was one of the best he made in the aftermath of the shooting tragedy. But it wouldn’t necessarily be the right choice in other school crisis scenarios, he said.

Each situation is unique, said Ms. Paine, but generally, getting students and staff members back to class and to a routine is good...

Arne Duncan Calls for Tighter Gun Control In Wake of Newtown Shootings

This from Politics K-12:
In his first public appearance since the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan called on the nation to tighten gun control laws, improve access to mental health, and curb the glorification of violence in movies and video games.

"Are we doing enough to keep children safe from harm? I don't think so, and neither does President Obama," Duncan said in remarks at Neval Thomas Elementary School in Washington.
Declaring this a "collective responsibility," he specifically urged federal lawmakers to reduce the size of gun clips, reinstate a ban on assault weapons, and ensure existing laws are being enforced. His remarks came about an hour before the National Rifle Association scheduled its first press conference since the shooting.

Earlier this week, Duncan attended some of the memorial services for Sandy Hook victims. He will be a part of President Obama's newly created commission earlier this week, led by Vice President Joe Biden, which has been tasked with creating concrete proposals for gun control, mental health services, and school safety changes in the wake of Sandy Hook.

As a member of the anti-violence task force, Duncan said he'll spend the coming weeks talking to folks across the country, from educators to gun owners—all of whom, he said, share common values. "We value our children," he said...

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Timeline for EKU Presidential Search

DATE                                                     EVENT

November 12-13, 2012                    Academic Search consultants visit campus/conduct forums

November 13, 2012                         First Meeting of the Search Committee
    SSB-549                                           • Organization meeting for the Committee
3:30 pm

December 17, 2012                          Second Meeting of the Search Committee
    SSB-549                                           • Review and Comment on Profile
    1:00 pm                                            • Review and Comment on Advertisement
                                                             • Practice Screening

February 14, 2013                           Preferred Deadline for Applications to be Considered

February 20, 2013                           Third Meeting of the Search Committee
    SSB-549                                           • Committee Reduces Pool to 8-10
Semi-Finalists for Reference Checking
and Neutral Site Interviews

Feb 22-March 4, 2013                      Committee conducts reference checks

March 8-9, 2013                              Fourth Meeting of Search Committee
    7:30 am each day                              • Neutral site interviews
                                                             •  Reduce candidate pool to no more
than 5 nor less than 2 unranked
candidates for campus interviews

April 1-12, 2013                               On-campus Interviews

April 15, 2013                                  Deadline for comments to Search Committee Executive

On or about April 15, 2013             Search Committee meets with Board to review candidates
(Time and place TBD)

After April 15, 2013                        Board selects President

On or about July 1, 2013                 President assumes office


Credentials sufficient to generate the respect 
and support of the academic/research community important.
But, No Terminal Degree? No Problem.

University priorities for presidential leadership, coupled with the University’s mission, aspirations, locations, and current statewide conditions suggest that the next President should display particular values and competencies. The Board of Regents and the Presidential Search Committee believe the following characteristics and aptitudes, while not inclusive, are the most important.

Leadership and ability to inspire
• An innovator and visionary with a demonstrated record of leadership in the management of a complex organization.
• The ability to excite and leave an impression and guide EKU in reaching its full potential.
• A leader who is aspirational and will lead and challenge the University to new levels of success and impact.
• An astute manager with a multi-disciplinary orientation who is approachable, honest, diplomatic, and a good listener.
• A trust- and consensus-builder who is decisive and willing to make hard and unpopular decisions when warranted.
• A steward of history, legacy, region, state, and resources.
• A leader who is decisive while inclusive, sees the big-picture as well as the important details, promotes teamwork and collaboration, and engenders loyalty both internally and externally.
Commitment to academic excellence
• A leader who is bold in the pursuit of academic and co-curricular excellence, is committed to transparency and shared governance, and who will engage at the ground-level while empowering talented faculty and staff to deliver results.
• A demonstrated commitment to lead, challenge, and continually assess academic and programmatic offerings to maximize quality and effectiveness.
• An appreciation of the Academy—its past, present, and future.
Engaging and charismatic
• The ability to further position EKU as a leader and cooperating partner in the life and development of the region and the state.
• A commitment to active participation and involvement locally, within the institution’s service boundaries, and beyond.
• A strong track record in the development of strategic partnerships with key economic, civic, government, and educational institutions and their leaders as well as alumni and donors.
Politically astute
• Demonstrated success in developing and sustaining political support across aisles, geographic boundaries, and within and outside of campus.
• Knowledge of how to develop long-term allies.
• A clear understanding of and experience navigating politics at all levels.
• The ability to engage key support for EKU while mitigating intrusion or conflicts of interest.
• High level of sophistication and effectiveness regarding board relations and interface.
Strong fiscal and team management
• A business-minded and accomplished manager, highly capable of managing the resources and personnel of a $225 million, multi-faceted, and complex enterprise.
• Experience in budget development and implementation in times of both strong and challenging financial climates.
• Unwavering accountability of resources.
• A track record of building strong executive teams that work collaboratively to achieve mutually defined goals and objectives.
• A keen eye for executive-level talent and the willingness to delegate and expect accountability.
Effective and compelling communicator, and accomplished friend- and fund-raiser
• Ability to communicate and share fresh ideas with individuals at all levels on and off the campus and regional sites.
• A bold and charismatic spokesperson passionate about the mission of EKU and who can leave an impression on others.
• A leader with effective and sophisticated interpersonal skills who will garner excitement, support, and pride for EKU through the telling of its story and future aspirations.
• A demonstrated ability to raise capital and attract new sources of funding for programs and operations.
• An effective and authentic spokesperson with experience in marketing and promotion.
Committed to student success
• A commitment to students and student learning as a basis for decision making on the campus and regional sites.
• Genuine enthusiasm to interact with students and participate in student life and activities.
• High expectations for student access, retention, completion and success.
• A demonstrated and consistent commitment to diversity at all levels including institutional governance and administrative leadership, student recruitment and retention efforts, faculty and staff composition, and volunteer boards and committees.
• Open minded, intentional, and genuine about diversity efforts; committed to sustainability and wellness.
• An earned doctorate or terminal degree in an academic discipline preferred but not required.
• Credentials sufficient to generate the respect and support of the academic/research community important.
• Experience as a CEO, university president, executive with multi-departmental or divisional responsibility, or the equivalent preferred.
• A veteran or familiarity with veteran conditions and needs a plus.
• A demonstrated innovator or entrepreneur.
• The highest level of ethics and commitment to the mission of EKU.
Full Profile Here.

Wanted: President

If you want this choice position
Have a cheery disposition
Rosy cheeks, no warts!
Play games, all sorts.

You must be kind, you must be witty

Very sweet and fairly pretty
Take us on outings, give us treats
Sing songs, bring sweets

Never be cross or cruel

Never give us castor oil or gruel
Love us as a son and daughter
And never smell of barley water

If you won't scold and dominate us

We will never give you cause to hate us
We won't hide your spectacles
So you can't see
Put toads in your bed
Or pepper in your tea

A slightly more Official Position Advertisement

The Board of Regents of Eastern Kentucky University invites nominations and applications for the position of President of this esteemed institution.

The President is the executive officer of the University, the President of the Faculty, and the chief administrative official of the institution responsible for all aspects of its mission. The President reports directly to the EKU Board of Regents.

Eastern Kentucky University is a regional, coeducational, public institution of higher education offering general and liberal arts programs, pre-professional and professional preparations at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Located in picturesque Richmond, Madison County, Kentucky, Eastern has a distinguished record of more than a century of educational service. Conveniently located and served by a network of major highways, Richmond is one of the fastest-growing cities in the state, with about 33,000 residents.

Among the qualifications the successful president will possess are:
  • Innovative and visionary leader with a success record of managing a complex organization(s)
  • Commitment to academic excellence
  • Accomplished in interpersonal communication and human relations; committed to diversity
  • Success in developing and sustaining political and other external support
  • Success in external friend and fundraising
  • Demonstrated ability in budgetary and financial management
  • An earned doctorate, a terminal degree, or the equivalent leadership credentials preferred
Nominations and applications will be accepted until an appointment is made, within the practical limits of the process as finalists are identified. For full consideration, applications should be received by Feb. 14, 2013. Review of applications will begin in January 2013. The position will be available on or about July 1, 2013, or sooner pending selected candidate availability. Applications should include: a letter describing the candidate’s interest in and qualifications for the position; a curriculum vitae or resume; a statement of how the candidate’s experiences and qualifications match the University’s mission, strategic direction and desired characteristics for the next president (as outlined in the Presidential Profile); and the names, addresses (including e-mail), and phone numbers for at least five references. All names will remain confidential except those individuals invited for campus interviews.

All nominations and applications should be in MS Word or PDF format and electronically filed to:
This search is being assisted by Dr. Carrie B. Hauser and Dr. James B. Appleberry. Questions may be addressed to or For additional information, visit under “current searches” or ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Eastern Kentucky University is an EEO/AA institution that values diversity in its faculty, staff, and student body. In keeping with this commitment, the University actively seeks and welcomes applications from diverse candidates and candidates who support diversity. The University provides reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities upon request.

Kentucky's school-safety program slashed 60 percent in budget cuts

This from The Courier-Journal:
A statewide school-safety program created after a fatal school shooting in Western Kentucky has had its budget slashed nearly 60 percent in the past five years.
The Safe Schools Program has seen its funding plummet from $10.4 million in 2007-08 to $4.5 million this year, prompting the Kentucky Center for School Safety to drastically reduce its school safety audits and districts to strain to find other money to pay for maintaining safety and order in schools.

But some Kentucky education leaders and legislators are saying those cuts need to be re-examined in the aftermath of the mass murder of students and teachers Friday at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
“It’s something we’re going to have to look at in light of what happened at Sandy Hook. But we should wait and see what exactly happened in Connecticut,” said state Rep. Carl Rollins, a Midway Democrat who heads the House Education Committee. “Our schools are still safe places.”
Jon Akers, the Center for School Safety’s executive director, said his agency has reduced its training programs for school officials by about half and canceled its annual safety conference this year.
Akers said the center will perform 57 audits of school safety this year — down from 90 when it was fully funded. In those audits, a team of experts visit a school to assess its safety needs.
“The cuts have limited what I can do and what superintendents can do, but we still try to find ways to make things happen,” Akers said. “We still provide training, technical assistance and safe school assessments in the school districts, but not as much as I would like.”
Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday said he’s confident the state’s schools are safe, but he said the funding cut needs to be examined. “I worry that we’re not able to do as many school safety audits as we would like.”
Begun in 1998

The General Assembly created the Safe School program in 1998, just months after a shooting at Heath High School in West Paducah killed three students and injured five others.
It funds the Kentucky Center for School Safety, based at Eastern Kentucky University. And it provides a stream of state money to districts dedicated for costs of maintaining order and security.
But the recession hit the program with a sharp funding decline as Gov. Steve Beshear and the General Assembly grappled with falling tax revenues and soaring costs for public pension obligations, Medicaid and state debt payments.

“This is symptomatic of a larger problem we have in Kentucky of bearing our responsibilities to the citizens we’re supposed to serve,” said state Rep. Jim Wayne, D-Louisville. “Until we face up to the financial crisis that we’re in, so many important support services for children and others will continue to erode.”
Beshear spokeswoman Kerri Richardson said safety in schools is an administration priority. “As we look toward future budgets, we will look for opportunities to restore many of the needs in education, such as professional development, textbooks, and the Center for School Safety,” Richardson said.
When the program was funded at $10 million, Akers said, his center got about $1 million with the remaining $9 million distributed among school districts under a formula based partly on student population.
Now, he said, his center gets $830,000 with about $3.7 million going to the districts.
Those districts, he said, can use their funds for security equipment and school resource officers — trained and armed law enforcement officers...

Monday, December 17, 2012

EKU Search Meeting Provides Little Clarity on Desired Candidate

Search Profile Reveals Little Direction
..or is it, Too Many Directions?

Today I had planned to write about the professional characteristics the EKU Presidential Search and Screening Committee was looking for in our next president. But that’s not really possible.  

We’ve got “a good sense of the kind of individual we're looking for," search firm honcho James Appleberry said, but unfortunately only committee members were allowed copies of the draft profile, so KSN&C cannot provide any semblance of the direction the committee is headed. It‘s not yet clear from this "open meeting" what we are looking for. 

At any rate, this afternoon at 1:05PM, Chairman Craig Turner called to order the Search and Selection Committee for EKU’s 12th president. Turner estimated the selection to be “about 4 months away.”  

After the obligatory underscoring of the “importance of confidentiality” for committee members, the meeting was turned over to Academic Search’s consultants, James Appleberry and Carrie Hauser.

The consultants reported that during their campus visit, “people were very nice” and helped the firm put together the draft profile along with an ad for the Chronicle of Higher Education and other publications. “Our search process is now ready to move forward,” Appleberry announced. 

Appleberry underscored that the process would be an open process, with updates posted to the Search Website regularly. But today’s process, while indeed open, shed little light. Faculty representatives Malcolm Frisbie and Sheila Pressley, and others, raised questions about something on Page 3; something on Page 2; something on Page 4; something on Page 7; something else on Page 3, but I’m not sure what. There was something about whether faculty and students were unique enough to brag about; whether any candidate would know what CPE is; something about Model Lab School; whether academic excellence should be stated positively or negatively; something about the 3rd bullet point; something about Law Enforcement; something about Nursing, and whether the Honors Program is unique. 

We will have to wait 24-48 hours to make sense of it, when the profile, which was tweaked by committee members, will be posted to the website.   

Committee members were admonished that they are not representing any group, but that they represent the future of the university. “Do not think you represent any particular interest group…please put on your university-wide hat,” Hauser said. “We have promised the candidates that we will make every attempt to keep names confidential”…members who breach confidentiality could be open to a personal lawsuit.

Hauser then reviewed the schedule for advertising.  A “one-page” ad (which I’m not at all sure is the same thing as a full-page ad) is planned for the 2nd edition of the Chronicle after the holidays. The ad is intended to drive people to the profile on the Academic Search website.  Online ads are expected to be up by Jan 11th

Candidates are being told to have their applications complete by Feb 14th to receive “full consideration.” 

“Our job is to go out and mine…applicants,” Hauser said.  

 “We are Looking for 6 to 8 really good candidates,” Appleberry said. 

The committee members were presented with a screening tool that could be used to help them screen candidates and they actually took a few minutes to practice using it on a fictitious candidate’s resume. It looked like it could be a useful thing for members to do….except that, you know...only members got to see it.

Members were admonished not to compare candidates by email or discuss rankings outside of the meeting but to only form opinions during meeting after listening to one another. 

The process members will follow is to sign on to Academic Search’s website to review applications online. To safeguard confidentiality, each application is given a number, and members will only refer to candidates by number in their notes. 

The committee’s next meeting will be on Feb 20that 11am and will consist of a closed screening session of 4-5 hours. Members are expected to arrive with their candidates grouped A, B, or C - keepers, maybes and rejects. 

Since visitors were left to divine what kind of candidate EKU is actually seeking, I spoke to Carrie Hauser afterward to get a sense of what we are looking for.  

KSN&C: Are we looking for a custodian of Eastern’s historical mission, or a cutting edge leader for the 21st Century?
Hauser: “Both.” 

KSN&C: “Really?”

Hauser: “Yes, all of that.”